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Milestone 6

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Milestone 6

By kmp30

Subjects: reflective summary, vln

Fairfield College is a single cluster, decile 4 school with 950 students and 80+ staff (of teachers, teacher aides and support staff). We are in the 3rd year of the contract.

Our goal last milestone was building blended e-learning momentum in the school.


To help achieve this, the significant change in our school has been using Moodle as a learning management system. It has been a long journey using Moodle.


Moodle was originally introduced a few years ago by a former staff member within the Digital Technology faculty. However, there was little uptake despite numerous opportunities and trials. This was due in large part that the system was plagued with problems, the site would often crash or disconnect and using it was not at all user friendly for other less knowledgeable teachers to use.


There was also a lack of access to computers for staff and students to be able to use this effectively and teachers also lacked a clear purpose for using the site.


When we as a school decided in 2011 to use Moodle school wide as a LMS we started out with a clear focus of what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted it to run. We wanted the whole staff to have access to Moodle by the end of 2012 and at least the HoF and 1 other faculty ‘expert’ to be trained and comfortable in using Moodle. We aimed to do this through group sessions with the Digital faculty and extra small group sessions with the school ICT PD facilitator and an external facilitator. We wanted Moodle to have a clear structure and to be running smoothly, and to do this we aimed to continually test it through the year to see how large the capacity was. Our first big change was to host Moodle internally and move it away from a commercial server. This immediately took care of the disconnecting and crashing issues and it was much faster to use for both staff and students.


The next favourable step was the school undergoing a SNUP and our computers in the computing blocks being upgraded.


Continuing development was a pilot group to build a Moodle structure and backbone, load students onto the system and use this in their classes. The Digital Faculty was the natural choice as they had the in house expertise and the most ready access to computers. Our aim was to get them training students to use Moodle in classes and with downloading of files, forum use and uploading of assignments.


They created an initial set of junior and senior classes (http://flic.kr/p/duAKWn) using Moodle and we tested capacity to find boundaries within the school. The results were very good so then we looked at introducing other faculties into using Moodle.


The first faculty was Science. How we did this was we first talked about the purpose of Moodle and what it could let us do, then the discussion flowed towards pedagogy and the most effective way to enhance our students learning in and out of the school. The key points we all had were that it would be interactive with students ‘doing’ and also students needed to be communicating and sharing with each other. Another key purpose was allowing of collaborative and group work, discussion and sharing spaces and a place to get teacher feedback and feedfoward. We also wanted to push and encourage each other as teachers to share and use our best work, so the Moodle pages for Science would be built and worked on as a team with each teacher having responsibility for a space and we would need to keep giving each other feedback and feedfoward as how effective the space was for students to interact and learn from.

The key underpinning was not to simply replace what we were doing as we did not want to digitalise a transmission style of learning.


We did the Moodle alongside digitalizing our faculty resources and spent time sharing ideas and importing activities and ideas from our MyPortfolio e-portfolios (Examples - http://flic.kr/p/dtoHzx and http://flic.kr/p/dtu4uL), this meant we focused on interactive activities supported by forum style discussion where students were doing and thinking and often working with or from each other. This movement of using forums was difficult for a few staff members who had never encountered this before.


Our actual training of how to make a Moodle page was broken into:

Purpose – why are we doing this and what do we want on the page:

  • How to use the buttons
  • (Creating a course, Turning editing on, textboxes, link webpages, upload files and images)
  • Embedding videos
  • Showing and hiding sections of work (so can have whole unit or sections of work but not all visible to students until we want it to be)


This worked best when broken into a few short sessions, we started with everyone in the faculty working in small groups with one of the 2 facilitators for 2 hours, then doing a further hour either individually or in a group with a facilitator, then as a facilitator I regularly followed up progress and encouraged others by showing them the work I was doing on developing my Moodle pages.


Here are some examples of the evolving Science pages http://flic.kr/p/dtoHGF and http://flic.kr/p/dtoHwg


Once Science had begun working I as a facilitator worked and reflected on my training style, refining how I was working with the teachers to make the whole process more efficient.


We then took the above process around the school more and now have several faculties developing their spaces (http://flic.kr/p/dtu4yG) and even using with students (from home with seniors doing NCEA revision and internals and for assessment and computer based work with juniors).


Once we had been through the school more we started feeling a strong need to keep a structure in Moodle and start developing roles, so everyone involved in Moodle met and decided on extra training sessions to run towards the end of the school year and roles and responsibilities within using Moodle http://flic.kr/p/dujoV2 this is one model we used to guide us with this.


Towards term 4 as people were becoming comfortable with what they were doing we wanted to extend our knowledge and find out more we could do with Moodle, as a facilitator I attended ULearn 2012 and went to Moodle sessions there looking at conditional access and completion tracking  and gamification of Moodle courses.


This also lead to an opportunity to attend a NEAL run Moodle training course on these same parts of Moodle and looking at gamification. 6 teachers from Fairfield went to this Moodle course and you can find reflections and notes here: http://fairfieldictpd.wikispaces.com/Kirsty


The things the administrators and facilitators took from this were:

We NEED to upgrade Moodle to the latest version (easier and more user friendly, more you can do, etc)

We need to make it better to do Moodle work from outside school, eg - home

I can now do completion tracking and restricted access :)


Now that Moodle is in the school and we are upskilling ourselves we now are looking at this becoming school wide with all students, starting with every year 9 student in 2013 and building up through there. Pockets in the school will continue to work with other year levels and develop pages in senior classes.

To continue working at our overall goal we are looking at sustainability of this e-learning beyond the contract. We are developing a Bring your own Devices (BYOD) plan to implement within the school. Our system and infrastructure have been upgraded and made more stable and we are implementing ultra-fast broadband and wireless in the school to support this.